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July 2006
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posted July 4, 2006

Friends of Dufferin Grove Park Newsletter

Volume 7 Number 7, July 2006


Special Events In July

posted July 4, 2006

Councillor Adam Giambrone SUMMERFEST

Saturday July 8, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Hot dogs, lawn sale, free city compost. By the basketball court. To book a lawn sale table call the Councillor’s office at 392-7012. Toronto Fire Services will be sending their community outreach fire truck (may be called away to respond to an emergency).

posted July 4, 2006

“Portugal 2004” girls’ soccer fundraiser CAR WASH, rummage sale and BBQ

Saturday July 8, 8.30 a.m. to 5 p.m

in the dead-end street by the rink house across from the Dufferin Mall lights. This group does an excellent job on your car.

posted July 4, 2006


July 11 – 16. Band starts at 7pm, dance starts at 7:30pm. (Dinner at the oven from 6.30 to 7.30)

New works from Toronto artists Nova Bhattacharya and Louis Laberge-Côté; William Lau; and Lucy Rupert and choreographies from Montreal’s Roger Sinha and Solid State.

Opening band: Grupo Capoeira Malęs

Artist Talkback: July 12 after the performance

The Moving Pictures Festival of Dance on Film and Video and Dusk Dances Inc. present Reel Dance in Dufferin Grove Park: July 13, 14 and 15 following the performances.


posted July 4, 2006

Clay and Paper Theatre: Camőes, the One-Eyed Poet of Portugal

Wednesday to Sunday, July 21 to August 13, 7:30 p.m.
Previews: Wednesday July 19 and Thursday July 20.

Opening Night: Friday July 21.

Camőes, the One-Eyed Poet of Portugal is the fourth show in Clay and Paper Theatre’s program they call “Building Local Stories”, following The Resurrection of Fornax, The Ballad of Garrison Creek, and Gold all of which were written by Larry Lewis and directed by David Anderson.

From director David Anderson: “On the northwest corner of College and Crawford stands a sculpture of Luis Vas de Camoes. Many local Torontonians know that statue, but few who are not Portuguese know that he is the national poet of a nation of poets, the greatest and most beloved poet of Portugal. We hope to correct this omission. Narrated by the one-eyed adventurer, soldier and poet himself, Luis de Camoes in Dufferin Grove Park will sing the praises of the Portuguese who have come to our community. It will fill the air with the songs of the Fado. Gigantones and Cabecudos (giant puppets and big head puppets) will recall and connect the Portuguese parade tradition with ours, and the smell of the barbecued sardines will mingle with the smell of fresh corn bread baked in the Dufferin Grove Park bake oven, inspired by the village ovens in Portugal. This is a collaboration between David Anderson, Nuno Cristo, Aida Jordao, Mark Keetch and Larry Lewis.”

posted July 20, 2006


Now magazine review, July 20, 2006

Eye Weekly Arts Week review, July 20, 2006

Toronto Star review, July 22, 2006

All Clay and Paper shows are weather dependent. Go/No-Go decisions will be made daily around 6pm. If in doubt call Clay and Paper Theatre at 416-537-9105 just before the events for information. Local forecast.


posted July 4, 2006

ART WORKSHOP for kids aged 8-12 with Gillian Tremain

Wednesday July 26, 2 - 5 p.m. at the rink house.

Gillian writes: “Marbling on paper and fabric : Come and explore this fascinating and beautiful art medium, probably first done in eighth century Japan. Classic marbling (or marbleizing) is a method of decorating paper or fabric through the manipulation of floating colours. The water-based colours are applied to the surface of a gel-like liquid and are then manipulated with combs and sticks; the print is ready to be "pulled". The children will be able to produce vivid patterns with relative ease once the basic technique has been mastered. They will see how colours in different combinations react differently to each other; I think they will also see very quickly what wonderful things they can create when there is a constant element of surprise. I'll need a minimum of 6 kids, maximum of 10 for the class to go ahead. Cost will be $30 plus a $10 materials fee, payment in full by cash or cheque the day of the class. Please wear appropriate art-making clothes! Excellent snack included, and if the weather's good, the class will be outdoors on the grass..”

To register, please e-mail Gillian at or call 416-532-0773.

posted July 4, 2006


Yoga in the park
every Thursday, weather permitting, 4:45-6:00.

It is open and free for youth (12-24), no registration is necessary. They usually meet between the Basketball court and Soccer field.

Theatre in the park

And here’s a schedule of youth-oriented outdoor park theatre performances from DMYS program supervisor Wolfgang Vachon:

Friday, July 7th at 1:00, in the yurt, “Trans Cab”.

“Toronto is home to Canada’s largest trans community. It is also home to one of the largest homeless populations in the country. “Trans Cab” was created by homeless and formerly homeless transgendered and transsexual individuals based upon their experiences navigating Toronto’s shelter system. Drawing upon diverse theatre styles, Trans Cab allows multiple voices to interact- including the audience- in a way that does not lose the integrity of the production.”

Monday, July 17th also at 1:00pm: Toronto Playback Theatre.

“Toronto Playback Theatre is dedicated to listening to people's stories and transforming them spontaneously into theatre. Their mission is to provide organizations with dramatic, audience-interactive performances and programs that build trust, deepen dialogue and generate opportunities for personal and professional development. Playback Theatre aims to create a ritual space where every voice and any story - however ordinary, extraordinary, hidden or difficult - might be heard and told. The Toronto Playback Theatre is committed to a theatre that values community, service, and the possibility of personal and social transformation through art.”

Monday August 14: Mixed Company Theatre: Under Pressure

...a newly developed work addressing the current trend of rising STI and HIV transmission rates among youth. This Forum Theatre production explores sexual pressures and consequences from a variety of perspectives as we observe five highschool students in their struggles with image and popularity, love and friendship, betrayal and trust. Under Pressure explores relationship negotiations and encourages students to find their own voices amidst the complex pressures faced in high school today.

Forum Theatre is issue-based and interactive and purposely presents the worst case scenario to prompt audience participation. Audience members intervene in the story, acting (as a spect-actor) in the play to create a positive alternative ending. The first part of the play is 30 minutes in length followed by the 45-minute facilitated educational program of audience interventions and topic discussions. A trained Forum Theatre facilitator (the Joker) prepares and encourages the spect-actor to replace the actors on stage and to change the story in a constructive way.

About Dufferin Mall Youth Services

Dufferin mall Youth Services program supervisor Wolfgang Vachon says that staff from the agency will be in the park throughout the summer and into the fall to connect with youth. Their services are: “culturally sensitive counselling, community support, and programming for youth age 12-24 and their families. DMYS was conceived and established as a joint community, mall, and business initiative to meet the needs of families, youth, businesses, and individuals striving to improve their communities. We are located inside Dufferin Mall in Suite 103, down the hall from HRDC and beside Abrigo. For more information call 416 535 1140.”

Regular Events in July

posted July 4, 2006


Every Wednesday afternoon 1 – 2 p.m. and 2 to 3 p.m., starting Wednesday, July 12.

Everyone is welcome to come and hear stories from all around the world, with new stories each week. As the summer progresses, drama and puppetry may also be part of the Wednesday afternoons. Kate is a former staff member at the park, and is now the artistic director of The Cooking Fire Theatre Festival. She told stories by the wading pool and at pizza days for many years.

For information about the yurt, see the yurt picture gallery.

posted July 4, 2006


Every Tuesday and Wednesday,4 to 6 p.m.

Park staff Eroca Nicols is a dancer, as lots of park friends know. Eroca says there are so many wonderful group dances/ line dances/ square dances in all the cultures of the world, and she wants to introduce some of them into the park, with the help of park kids. So the park is offering free children’s dance classes every Tuesday and Wednesday all summer long at the park.

The sessions are:

  • Tuesdays:
    • Ages 5 and under – 4:00pm-4:30pm.
    • Ages 6-8 – 4:45pm-5:30pm
  • Wednesdays:
    • Ages 9-12 – 4:00pm-4:45pm.
    • All Ages Dance/Instrument Jam 4:45pm-5:45pm.

From Eroca: “All classes will be in front of the playground gazebo. Make sure to wear sunscreen and bring water to class.”

To find out more or to sign up, call the park at 416 392-0913 and leave a message, or e-mail Eroca at

Friday Night DJ Dance
The first dance is on Friday July 28, starting at 7.30

Park staff Ted Carlisle is also a DJ. So one Friday each month (July, August, September, maybe October if the weather is still good), Eroca and Ted and will host a FRIDAY NIGHT DJ DANCE on the rink pad, for everyone, after Friday Night Supper. The dance class kids will teach everyone (adults too) who want to learn the traditional group dance of that month and then Ted will spin all sorts of other music too. The first dance is on Friday July 21, starting at 7.30.

posted July 4, 2006

BIKE MAINTENANCE CLINIC near the farmers’ market and/or the playground

Every Thursday, 2 to 6 p.m.

Park friend Issie Chackovicz brings his tools and also his educational material about the CAN-BIKE courses he teaches. He does on-the-spot bike maintenance, with explanations. If your bike is squeaking, the handlebars are crooked, the brakes are loose, the gears don’t work right – Issie can get your bike back in shape while your kids play in the sandpit, or while you walk the dog, or come to shop at the market. He’ll charge for the work and the parts; the explanations, of how to do it yourself the next time, are free. That might get some squeaky bikes back into good condition fast, for all those busy people who can’t fit in regular maintenance trips to the bike shop.

Issie is a nationally-certified CAN-BIKE instructor. He writes: “The CAN-BIKE PROGRAM is a set of courses on all aspects of cycling safely and enjoyably on the road. The orientation is toward recreational and utilitarian use of the bicycle rather than toward competition. The CAN-BIKE courses are organized on age and 3 levels - basic, advanced and instructor. I teach all the levels including bike maintenance.”

Issie says the Can-Bike approach works for people who

(1) want to learn to ride a bike, or
(2) who already ride a bike in the city but would like to learn how not to get run over by a truck.

Issie says he can teach anyone, child or adult, to ride a bike in half an hour. That’s just getting moving. After that comes riding in your neighbourhood, then riding on main streets, than riding safely in the urban jungle. The courses are offered at various Parks and Recreation locations but Issie says there couldn’t be a better location than Dufferin Grove, with the large surface of the rink for doing figures-of-eight, and then the local-traffic-only protection of the block between the park and St.Mary’s High School. Contact:

Park Activities

Food In The Park

posted July 4, 2006

Pizza days
Dan at the oven

photo by Wallie Seto

12 to 2 Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 1 to 3 Sundays.

From park staff Amy Withers: “Pizza is a make-your-own affair but we cook it for you in the oven and the cost is 2 dollars per pizza for dough, sauce and cheese. You can top your pizza with some of the fresh greens the garden is starting to yield like basil, kale, red chard, dill, and soon tomatoes. Of course feel free to bring extra toppings from home.

On hot pizza days we set out the sprinkler for kids to dash through while you chat and we have a few toys and books for little ones too.”

Groups on pizza days:

Small groups: Amy says, “If you have a group of less than 12 people just call the park and tell us that you would like to come. Since pizza days are quite busy we suggest a less hectic time, for instance if you come late in the session (at 1.30 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays or 2.30 on Sundays) there is more space for a little group.”

Bigger groups: Amy says, "If you want to have a pizza party for a large group, more than 12 people, you must contact the park at 416 392 0913 to book a time separate from, but adjoining, our regular pizza hours (that is, right before or right after the regular pizza day hours). For the extra time and staff required for a scheduled party we charge 60 dollars plus $2 per pizza as usual. If your group has special circumstances and you are willing to make a trade of labour and time or goods for a lowered price discuss it with staff….we like deals."

Amy’s pizza decorating ideas: “July 4th and 5th are the semi-finals between Germany and Italy (Tuesday) and Portugal and France (Wednesday) so we hope to see lots of flag pizza's with fresh greens from the garden, white mozzarella cheese and red tomato sauce though we may need some creative interpretation and perhaps the park garden serviceberries for the blue in the French flag."

posted July 4, 2006

Friday Night Supper:
Every Friday at the big oven, 6 to 7 p.m.
Friday night supper

On the last Friday of June, Yvonne Machado worked with the park cooks to make a Portuguese meal. She showed them how to make leg of lamb braised in beer and port wine, Portuguese corn bread, and orange cake for dessert. Most of the recipes were not in a book but had been taught to Yvonne by her mother. There wasn’t a single scrap of that meal left over.

The park cooks wanted to cook a Portuguese meal because a group planned to show a Portuguese-language film in honour of the first-ever Portuguese-language film festival in Toronto. But there was such a high wind that evening, the screen couldn’t be put up and the outdoor film was cancelled. The food was delicious anyway! Hopefully some other excellent local cooks will share their knowledge with the park cooks too, and Yvonne says she’ll come back again when she has time.

posted July 4, 2006


Harvest at the children's garden, Aug.13

From garden support staff Jenny Cook: “Once again, and hopefully for the last time, we are going to switch our official gardening meeting hours at Dufferin Grove Park.

"In an attempt to avoid sun-stroke, from now on we will meet on Sunday evenings at around 5 pm. Thus, not only will we avoid the worst of the heat, we will also be able to make and eat dinner (enjoying some of the fruits of our labour), before tackling the weeds into the wee hours of the night, or at least until it gets too dark to see.

If you have never yet made it out, don't be shy!”

From park neighbour Simon Lepik-Wookey: “I think it would be good to put a French drain at the southeast corner of the park, where all the water runs down from the sand pit. In the meantime, Rebecca and I have been doing a little gardening in the back there. We have established a good violet patch along with some day lilies and other flowers to hide that steel car barrier. We plan to transplant some irises in the fall along with some other hearty annuals that we have in our garden.”

Simon says they’d like to work with other park friends to “establish a nice little shade garden with a bench in that back corner. It could be a good project for children to learn about gardening... or just a nice place for parents to sit and rest in the shade while watching their kids having fun and getting very dirty.... “

If anyone has wet-loving, shade-loving plants to donate, Simon will plant them down there. Contact Simon at

The City Forestry Department has not been able to plant the promised 25 trees (yet), but the 8 trees and many bushes planted by park friends within the past year are all thriving. Park friends have been planting trees in the park since 1995, and some of those early plantings are getting very big. The black walnut trees in the “Remembering Garrison Creek” gardens in the southwest corner are at least fifteen feet tall now, and they’ve got a bumper crop of walnuts ripening on them.

posted July 4, 2006


Saturday at 2 p.m. to Sunday night

As in other years, the soccer field is available for free community permits from Saturday at 2 p.m. to Sunday night. The permits are available from park staff Mayssan Shuja. You can contact her by e-mailing or by leaving a message for her at the park: 416 392-0913.

Saturdays 2-4 p.m.

Contact: Matt Price, The same is true of the Ultimate Frisbee game, and of the Sunday cricket game.

Co-ed Soccer Saturdays 4 to 6 p.m.

Neighbourhood soccer games all accept drop-in players – just talk to the players and join the game. Saturdays 4 to 6 p.m. – co-ed soccer.

New: women’s soccer, Sunday mornings 10am to 12noon.

Contact: Sarah Hutton, They play for fun, at a beginner/intermediate recreational level. Women are a priority but men are also welcome.

Sundays 4 to 6 p.m.

From cricket organizer Hasanka: “On Sundays we play an informal game of cricket at the park, on the soccer field. We play with a tennis ball, so no protective equipment is required. If you'd like to join us, just walk up and introduce yourself. This is not a club with membership fees, just a group of amateur cricket enthusiasts. Beginners (and spectators) are welcome. We hope to see you there.”

posted July 4, 2006



Farmers’ markets, including this one, have been getting a lot of press in the past few weeks. So has organic food. Some people say that organic food will soon become so multi-national there will be nothing local about it anymore. But for now, at this market we can get to know the people who grow our food – what a pleasure.

And it’s possible to join the other side, and work on the farms too. From farmer Jessie Sosnicki: “We are ready to take on a few people interested in the whole experience on our organic farm. Weeding, picking, grading, selling, as well as fun: BBQ's, camping, horseriding, fishing etc. One week, two weeks, a month, up to them and how everything is working out. I have accommodation for two folks in our home. All meals included of course! It's hard work, but a good experience for anyone that wants to learn how we do things around here. I can only handle two at a time, but we're going until frost, so many different folks can share in the experience thoughout the months!”

To find out more about working with the farmers who come to the market, contact market manager Anne Freeman at

Park News

posted on July 4, 2006

Unexpected Skateboard Park

The skateboard park at Scadding Court (Bathurst and Dundas) had to be removed for the summer because the ice rink there is being torn up and replaced. So all the wooden structures were set up at Christie Pits on the rink there. But Christie Rink has no drainage, so with the first big rain it turned into Christie Lake. The skateboard ramps began to swell from sitting in three inches of water, and it became clear that if the equipment wasn’t moved soon, it would be seriously damaged. So now the skateboard park is set up at Dufferin Rink, just for this summer..

The bad news is that there may be some extra noise for the neighbours. To report problems, leave a message on the park phone: 416 392-0913, or e-mail

The good news is that this set-up seems like huge fun for the many kids and youth who come there to skate (and a few with bikes, roller blades, or running shoes with wheels in them). It’s mostly open skate-boarding, but there are a few kids’ skateboard camps that come with the set-up, for children aged 8-12. They are two 5-day sessions (July 17 and July 24) with half the day at the skate park and the other half spent swimming at Christie Pits pool and play games at Bob Abate CRC, for $128. There’s also one ten-day session starting July 31, for $230. From their brochure: “Responsible skating is stressed in every lesson. Beginners will learn skate boarding mechanics and basic skills such as balance, carving, riding transitions, and dropping-in. Advanced skaters learn grinds, ollies, and airs and have a chance to learn on the larger ramps. Skaters are assessed on the first day.”

For more information or to register, call the Bob Abate Community Recreation Centre at 416 392-0744.

The Cooking Fire Theatre Festival gave the park a donation from their park dinner receipts, and those funds bought three skateboards that kids (not youth) can borrow. Rob Poyner, who designed and built the skateboard park and who repaired it after Christie Pits, donated three helmets to go along with the skateboards. (He is a hero of the park!)

The skateboards will only be loaned out to kids whose parents meet with the recreation staff and sign a permission form. And if anyone would like to give a nice gift to the park, consider donating another good-quality skateboard, for lending. Rob can give advice, and he knows where to get very good boards for $140 apiece. Anything cheaper, he says, is not worth the trouble – it’s too hard to learn on a cheap board.

posted on July 4, 2006


There’s a new structure in the Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division. It’s a “structure by function” system, with each park maintenance request, large or small, going through the recreation supervisor as the point of entry, then streamed to various other supervisors, then followed up.

In the spirit of this new style of monitoring and follow-up, all requests and responses concerning park maintenance are being posted on the park web site's maintenance section:

This way of posting is also a way of anticipating the City's 3-1-1 program. The program allows citizens to report problems by calling one central number (311) and then tracking the complaint’s follow-up via the internet. Meant to begin in December 2005, the program has now been postponed until 2007. But it's easy to implement this as a test on a very small scale (just one park). So Dufferin Grove Park can be a cheap pilot for the proposed electronic-post-and-follow-up element of 3-1-1 -- another way in which the park functions as a research laboratory. The condition and open hours of the park washrooms is one topic that has a lots of postings already, so has playground maintenance.

Park friends: if you see a problem, send it to It will be forwarded to the recreation supervisor and then you can track it on the maintenance page of the park web site. Let’s see how such tracking works.

posted on July 4, 2006


Set up by Gabe Sawhney of Wireless Toronto, and funded by Kijiji (see below). Gabe is part of a volunteer group who think that free wireless internet access connects people better in communities, and is the right way to go. The group in Toronto is just over a year old. Their web site is: We asked Gabe to give an example of what wireless internet is good for, and he sent this story: “One of the most active community wireless groups is in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. They coordinated the installation of a community wireless network in New Orleans within days of Hurricane Katrina. That network was powered using batteries, solar, and other off-grid sources, and provided the only communications infrastructure in some areas for weeks. The group also set up low-power FM transmitters to help inform people about what was going on.”

In the past year Wireless Toronto set up a number of free wireless internet access points in Toronto, around St.Lawrence Market and various coffee shops and one pub. But they wanted to expand to the open air. So they contacted Kijiji - a free, local, community classifieds site - to ask if they would sponsor a year’s free wireless internet at a park.

Janet Bannister from Kijiji writes: “Kijiji ( has local sites in 21 cities across Canada including one here in Toronto. Kijiji means “village” in Swahili. Like the name, Kijiji enables people to buy and sell things with others in their own city – things like furniture, electronics, computers, clothing, and baby items. Kijiji also has categories for cars, pets, services, housing, jobs and personals. The site is totally free – there’s absolutely no cost to post an ad – and it is extremely easy to use. The site is growing very quickly so take a look and you just may find a great bargain or a spot to turn your unwanted things into cash.”

So Kijiji, because of its interest in local communities, agreed to sponsor a year’s free wireless internet access in a park. Gabe contacted Dufferin Grove Park. City of Toronto officials said that although it’s a good idea, they were not ready to give Wireless Toronto permission to install wireless internet at the park. But a park neighbour offered his house as the point of entry. So wireless internet has come to Dufferin Grove Park in the same way so much else has come to the park – from the neighbourhood.

It took a month or so to iron out the bugs, but the hot spot seems to be working well all the time now. And for those people who don’t have their own laptop computer, the park will shortly be getting a refurbished desktop computer available for park users and travellers for checking e-mail, to be kept in the rink house. Watch for signs on the park bulletin boards.

posted on July 4, 2006


September 1 site meeting

When the big cob-courtyard-building project was going on last summer, people kept asking: so where’s the toilet going to be? For parents and caregivers of young kids, the lack of a toilet near the playground has been a drawback for years. And Georgie Donais has been interested in the ecology of sewage forever – i.e. composting toilets.

The brother of a cob volunteer, living in the southern U.S., heard about the cob project and offered to donate an industrial-strength composting toilet (the kind used in campgrounds and highway rest stops). There was no place for it in the courtyard structure, but there’s a good spot nearby, just west of the playground. In the fall, Georgie started talking to the Parks manager about the idea. She proposed building another smaller cob structure to surround the composting toilet. The manager was interested, so last February Georgie designed a beautiful, sculptural little cob building and applied for two small grants to cover its cost. Both grants – $10,000 from the Toronto Arts Council, and $2000 from the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation – were approved.

The Parks manager has changed in the meantime, and on June 1 Georgie and several park staff met with Sandy Straw, the new Parks manager for Toronto and East York, and Peter Leiss, the new West Parks maintenance supervisor. Georgie showed them detailed drawings, specs, etc. (including the number of bums the toilet can accept before it needs a rest). But on June 7, the manager had to leave for a family emergency, and she didn’t get back until June 26. The supervisor was also busy or away for that whole time, and suddenly the whole project was in trouble because the permissions were not ready.

Georgie wrote: “I am getting more and more concerned that building season is passing us by; volunteers are now in the park, and we are missing the chance to make use of their skills.”

On June 29, we went into crisis mode and talked to everybody including City Councillor Adam Giambrone, about the possibility that Georgie might have to give back her funding if the project couldn’t get going. Lucky for us, we were able to get the attention of all those busy management people, and the project is going ahead after all. The foundation will hopefully be done by the middle of July, and then: let the cobbing begin! To find out more, go to Georgie’s web pages:, or read the park bulletin boards. Georgie can be reached at

posted July 4, 2006


A friend of the sandpit writes: “I am a mother of a 5 and 9 year old. They LOVE the pit! I cannot get them out of it. In the park web site it says the sandpit is for older children but younger ones can play as well with supervision of a caregiver close by. I always am close by to supervise both my children but I find that people in the past have said that my 9 year old may be too old to play there.

There's so much to do for little ones at the park but for the older ones the sandpit is extreme fun where their imagination soars and they feel good. Is there an age limit? “

The park staff will be reminding people this summer that the sandpit is an adventure playground built for older children. Although little ones are not barred, when it’s crowded with older kids intent on their projects, little kids should move over to the more protected sandbox inside the playground fence.


This newsletter sponsored by: Edward Cayley

Newsletter prepared by: Jutta Mason

Illustrations: Jane LowBeer

Web Site: Henrik Bechmann

Park photographer: Wallie Seto

Park phone: 416 392-0913

Web address:


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